Two in five teenage girls have suffered sexual violence, study finds

Teenage girls in relationships said they had suffered sexual or physical violence. Credit: Tim Goode/EMPICS Entertainment

Two in five girls, some aged just 13, have experienced sexual violence from a partner according to a new study led by academics at the University of Bristol and University of Central Lancashire.

The research also showed one in five girls aged between 13 and 17 in England suffered physical violence from their boyfriend.

Nearly half (48%) of girls reported emotional and online abuse within their relationship.

Some 48% of teenage girls said they had received messages which contained sexual images or wording and two in five admitting to sending them, with around one in four, 27%, saying it was because they felt pressured to do so.

The study, which surveyed 1,001 teenagers in England, also looked at incidents and attitudes to abuse through school-based questionnaires to 3,500 young people in Norway, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Italy.

Rates of interpersonal violence and abuse (IPVA) were found to be higher for girls in England than in the other countries, except reported instances of emotional abuse in Italy.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said urgent action was needed to address the "shocking levels of violence and coercion" revealed in the report.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the results from the study are 'shocking'. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Ms Cooper said: "That must include stronger action in schools, colleges and universities and by the police - both to prevent violence in the first place and to crack down when it occurs."

Meanwhile, the researchers also found many young boys had watched porn and had negative attitudes to women.

Around 39% of boys surveyed in England admitted they regularly watched pornography and around one in five, 18%, strongly agreed with statements such as, "It is sometimes acceptable for a man to hit a woman if she has been unfaithful" or "Women lead men on sexually and then complain about the attention they get".